College of Public Health Announces 2007 Outstanding Woman in Public Health Award – April 2007

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A 19-year tradition started by the USF College of Public Health is going strong! On April 2, the college announced this year’s winner of the Outstanding Woman in Public Health Award – Dr. Marie-Jose Francois, executive director of the Center for Multicultural Wellness and Prevention in Orlando, FL, and Public Relations & Outreach Coordinator of the Community Health Centers serving the Central Florida community.

During the award ceremony at the college, Dr. Francois was praised for her contributions in the area of disease prevention and the promotion of health. Since the founding of the Center for Multicultural Wellness and Prevention in 1995, Dr. Francois has made a difference in the lives of underprivileged immigrant families. Among her many accomplishments, she wrote and received funding for tobacco prevention, asthma, juvenile delinquency and breast cancer education.

The USF College of Public Health awarded its first Outstanding Woman of the Year in the spring of 1988 to honor women in the entire state of Florida for significant contributions in the field of public health. That tradition was started with 1988’s winner, Flora Mae Wellings, retired director of Florida’s Epidemiology Center.
In more recent years, winners have included:
• 2003- Jacquelyn Nash, MSW, LCSW, President of the National Association of Social Workers – Florida Chapter.
• 2004- Bonita J. Sorensen, MD, MBA, Deputy State Health Officer, Florida Department of Health.
• 2005- Lillian M. Stark, PhD, MPH, MS, Bureau of Laboratories-Tampa.
• 2006- Lora E. Fleming, MD, PhD, MPH, MS, Co-director of the National Science Foundation – National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Miami Oceans & Human Health Center.

As the first college of public health in the nation created by a state legislature, the USF COPH award has become a coveted honor to industry experts. This year’s winner, Dr. Marie-Jose Francois, emigrated to the U.S. from Haiti in 1983.

Donna Petersen, PhD, dean of the USF College of Public Health, listens as Dr. Francois accepts her award.

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